Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Food Fraud Quick Bites

A Way Too Efficient Pesticide

By Susanne Kuehne
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Susanne Kuehne, Decernis

Illegal pesticides pose health risks.

Ladybug, Decernis
Find records of fraud such as those discussed in this column and more in the Food Fraud Database.
Image credit: Susanne Kuehne

Europol, the European police authority, estimates that up to 15% of pesticides are unapproved or counterfeit, resulting an annual impact of more than $6.5 billion on the legitimate pesticide industry. It is often unknown what ingredients are in these counterfeit products. Such substances, often sold online, can pose serious health and environmental risks. During the first half of 2020, Europol has seized a record amount of unapproved pesticides. Profit margins for criminals are very high due to relatively low production costs for pesticides. Criminals avoid the tedious, expensive and lengthy approval processes which are usually contributing significantly to the pesticides’ costs.


  1. Elahi, S. (October 22, 2020) “Poison in the field – The illegal (counterfeit) pesticide business”. Food Authenticity.
  2. Bartz, J. and Laska, R. “Milliardengeschäft mit gefälschten Pestiziden”. (October 10,2020). ZDF News.


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Susanne Kuehne, Decernis

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